Rural Exodus, Drought Fund and Other Reports
Every week, Rural Reporters collate reports on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles which have been carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues. Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week.
Representatives of 30 African countries have been working this week to map out ways to stop the continent’s mass rural exodus at the Forum on Rural Development in Yaounde.
Emmanuel Afessi works on his desk top at Odja center in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, where he is training 30 youths on information technologies at the center he created when he returned from the United States a year ago.
“Africa needs to produce its own knowledge, its own equipment and that is why we want to train people within the continent,” he said. “ICTs help close the gap between the developed and the developing world much faster than any technology including the motor vehicles. It is a large contributor to most African countries GDPs today. Think about just the whole aspects of internet and mobile phone. That is a huge multi-billion dollar market.”
After a second consecutive sub-par cotton crop and yield Gift Nyanyiwa was open to a new challenge.
Last January, Nyanyiwa turned to sesame seeds, a crop he had never heard of before after 16 years of diminishing maize, sorghum and cotton returns. Nervously, he is now awaiting pricing for his crop, though he remains encouraged by the shorter farming period and lower input costs.
“I really like the fact that it’s different from cotton as we can also use it for oil,’’ Nyanyiwa said. “I have spoken to a lot of other farmers who want to try the seed after suffering from cotton.’’
A new study indicates that early infant circumcision, which helps to prevent HIV transmission later in life, can be safely performed in rural Uganda.
“Preventable HIV infections are still a major concern, and circumcision is one of the priority measures in combination HIV prevention for high burden countries,” said Dr. Edward Nelson Kankaka, lead author of the BJU International study.
One of the outcomes of the first ever Africa Drought Conference, which ended in Windhoek last week Friday, was the agreement not to set up a trust fund for financing drought emergencies.
The five-day conference themed “Enhancing Resilience To Drought Events On The African Continent” was attended by over 400 delegates, including local and international experts.
As part of the Windhoek Declaration, which includes the Strategic Framework to combat drought in Africa that was adopted last Thursday, the conference opted to seek other ways of funding drought emergencies.
Zimbabwe’s anti-Mugabe demonstrators are reportedly moving to the country’s rural areas following the recent ban on all protests and rallies in urban cities.
According to New Zimbabwe, the anti-Mugabe protesters were carrying out their activities at different social gatherings that included funerals, memorial services and other traditional events.
The activists were said to be operating under a social movement dubbed #Zimbabwe Yadzoka, Mayibuye iZimbabwe. This could be loosely translated as #BringbackourZimbabwe.
The Association of Rural Banks says it taking steps to establish an insurance company to take care of high risk transactions of members.
Officials say the move is to ensure sustained rural banking amid growing competition from microfinance institutions.
“We want to be sustainable. Rural banks want to stay in business and we think one way of doing that is by opening our own insurance company”, President of the Association of Rural Banks, Dr. Nana Akowuah Boamah said.
Stakeholders in the cassava subsector of the economy have unfolded a plan to grow the industry into $5billion (about N1. 5trillion) by 2021.
The plan was unveiled during the National Cassava Summit held in Abuja with the theme “Towards a $5 billion per Annum Industry over the next five years.”
The Programme Director of Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), Dara Akala, said the plan was that by 2021, the Nigerian cassava sector, in terms of investment and volume of trade would be worth $5billion.
Development experts and policymakers understandably focus on migration to urban areas and the need for sustainable urbanization. But they should not lose sight of the dramatic changes happening in rural areas, which are too often ignored.
While the growing demand for food – driven by rising population and incomes – is creating opportunities for rural people, hunger and poverty remain concentrated in rural parts of developing countries. Unless rural development receives more attention, young people will continue to abandon agriculture and rural areas in search of better livelihoods in cities or abroad.
Despite agriculture employing more than 80 per cent of the African population, the continent generates only 10 per cent of global agricultural output.
Yet another shocking reality is that Africa still spends $35 billion a year on importing food, despite having a quarter of the world’s arable land, according to latest findings from the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).